“After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season,” owner Andrew Barroway said in a statement. “The time has come for us to move on and to focus on our young, talented group of players and our very bright future. This was a very difficult decision given what Shane has done for the Coyotes and his unparalleled importance to the organization. With that said, this is necessary to move us forward as a franchise.”
The 40-year-old has played the entirety of his 21-year career with the Coyotes franchise, starting as a Winnipeg Jets selection back in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. The team moved to Phoenix in his second year in the NHL.
Doan was named team captain in 2003 and holds many franchise records, including goals (402), assists (570), points (972), and games played (1.540). In 74 games in the 2016-2017 season, he had just 27 points – his lowest full-season total since 1998-1999.
The long-time Coyote was not expecting the decision.
“Yeah, I’d say I was surprised,” Doan said. “I wasn’t expecting it and there is an element of surprise in that. You think it’s going one way…and I realized very quickly where the conversation was going and was trying to process it all…I wasn’t shocked that they didn’t want me to play again.”
According to reports, Doan was made aware of the team’s decision on Saturday by team general manager John Chayka.
The next step could be an interesting one. Doan says he plans on testing free agency and could land a contract somewhere, but his diminishing returns may not make him an attractive fixture. He hasn’t ruled out retirement.
“I want to get an honest idea of where I’d be and what it would be like,” he said. “If it lines up, then yeah. I felt tied and wanted to be part of the Coyotes for your whole career and maybe I retire and that’s the way it ends. But at the same time maybe not to have that tie, maybe that’s good and something I can look at other things and see and be honest with myself.”
The Coyotes certainly have a plan and they’ve been making moves to get there. They traded goalie Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames on Saturday and left Doan, Radim Vrbata, Brad Richardson, and Jamie McGinn off their list of protected players for the expansion draft.
Also, word around the campfire is that Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be named team captain.